Game of the Year is perhaps the most difficult award to give out. Not everyone has an opinion on Best Technical Audio or Best Style, but everyone has an opinion on the best game they played this year. 2020 was a year unlike any other. The global pandemic affected every walk of life, and gaming was no exception. Not only that but new consoles arrived this year. With all eyes looking forward to 2021, this is our last opportunity to look back and exalt in three of the games that really stuck with us this year. Games that made us feel, made us think, and made us fall in love with gaming all over again. This is our Golden Lance Award for Game of the Year.
Winner: Doom Eternal from id Software
When we think about what makes a game a contender for the game of the year there are many aspects we have to think of. What was the game’s impact? Was the game fun to play? How did the game perform in terms of quality and did it deliver the content that was promised? There is no game that better exemplifies all of this than Doom Eternal. From the game’s beginning until its heart pounding chaotic ending, it is incredible. The gameplay mechanics are tight, from its gun control, glory kills, and use of mobility systems. Hell is your playground, and you have a ton of demons to kill. With no shortage of weapons, tools, and upgrades to make your job easier.
On top of the butter-smooth gameplay, there is an incredibly detailed audio design. Each demon having its own shrill scream or blood-curdling yell as they attack you and you rip and tear them until the end. Additionally, all of these mechanics and designs are held together by the glue that is Doom Eternal’s soundtrack. From guttural slower metal tracks to fast-paced 80’s styled thrash tracks Doom Eternal does it all. With all of this combined, it makes for the best game of 2020.
Runner Up: Final Fantasy VII: Remake from Square Enix
Remaking any work of art is incredibly hard to do. Developers must balance recapturing the original’s nostalgia while modernizing to hide the game’s age. Something new oversimplifies how much Final Fantasy VII: Remake brought. With so much to discuss, a combat system blending original features with modern gameplay and expanded story content made this game soar.
Combat manages a successful marriage between turn-based and live action combat. The original Final Fantasy VII had a time-based turn combat system, where every possible move needed each character to wait their turn before attacking. Now, Cloud and team can make standard attacks as much as they want, but stronger powers like magic and summons require full Active Time Battle (ATB) gauges. Even then, spatial awareness is a requisite for combat success. This system shines brightest during many fights both new and reimagined from the original release.
Speaking of new, most of the story content is new. Despite the core plot points surviving to this remake, Final Fantasy VII Remake introduces a litany of meaningful content. Jessie, Biggs, and Wedge aren’t just goofy side characters for the opening anymore; they get meaningful development. Shinra doesn’t just frame Avalanche for the reactor explosions, they use it as war propaganda against Wutai. Square Enix didn’t just keep all of the main plot points, they expanded their affects on the game’s world. Any remake that amps up the context of the original story doesn’t just pass, it fights for extra credit.
This only scratches the surface of everything this game accomplishes. We didn’t talk about the music, art direction, or voice acting even though all deserve full essays on their quality. With so much to talk about, we are more than happy to call Final Fantasy VII: Remake one of 2020’s best.
Runner Up: Ghost of Tsushima from Sucker Punch Productions
Ghost Of Tsushima is one of the rare instances where the quality of the game exceeds the hype placed upon it. With its unique take on open world exploration and minimal waypoints, nature and wildlife can guide and influence your path. Combine this with an extremely culture rich island based on 13th century feudal Japan and the foundation for samurai cinema is set.
A huge standout feature within the game is the ability to approach combat situations differently. Want to follow the code of the Sakai samurai clan when facing hordes of enemies? Simple, call them out beforehand by announcing your presence in a bold standoff mechanic. If this technique is mastered it can literally cut down multiple Mongol enemies to shreds. Feel the odds are completely stacked against you while storming a castle? Try adopting the way of the “Ghost” (think Tenchu) and use every stealthy ninja trick in the game to catch an entire compound off balance. Ghost of Tsushima also gives you the option to study your opponent by “watching them” stealthily from a distance to master the deeper stances used to defeater higher tier enemies.
If the incredible story of Jin Sakai and the combat system were not enough for you, embrace the added co-op multiplayer mode of Ghost of Tsushima: Legends. Two player separate story missions, a four player survival mode, and an end game four player raid activity that can give the mechanics of a Destiny raid a run for its money. All of this is included as a free update to the base game and puts the icing on the cake for the most complete package for a brand new IP. We present Ghost Of Tsushima as a worthy runner-up for Game of The Year at LOGNET.